Blog_Lead (27)
Sheena Peeters Transformation Principal

EE Life Tue 9th April, 2024

It’s the journey not the destination: 3 steps to success for digital transformation

Digital transformation is challenging and complex. Businesses that focus on the journey as well as the desired outcomes can unlock value faster and enable their teams to achieve ambitious goals.

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters.” No doubt you’ve heard this classic quote at some point in your life, probably during a life-affirming moment in a film or on a motivational poster. But surprisingly, it also applies to digital transformation.  

In an increasingly technology-enabled world, too many companies focus solely on the end goal of a digital transformation – the envisioned destination and its promised benefits. However, around 70% of digital transformations fail to deliver the expected value for the business in a timely manner. Often, this is because the path to achieve the transformation is ambiguous, veiled in uncertainty with crucial questions left unanswered. Does the business understand what they’re trying to achieve? Have they determined how they will transition to achieve these outcomes? Do they have the right people and teams with the necessary skills and capabilities internally? How they augment their teams with people who can bring additional skills and experience to showcase best practices and the pitfalls to avoid?

Navigating this ambiguity and deciding on an approach isn’t easy, but it’s vital for success. I’ve faced these challenges myself, making business-defining decisions in both large, risk-averse organisations and running my own business. Over the years I’ve learned that successful digital transformation isn’t just about the destination; it’s about embracing the journey and focusing on three crucial steps to unlock business value throughout the process, and not just as an end goal. 

Define the journey

There’s nothing unique in an organisation wanting to adopt digital infrastructure or dismantle monolithic legacy systems in place of modern architecture. But what is unique is the approach that each business will need to take to achieve these goals. Organisations need to map out the steps and potential challenges based on their own business context, appetite for risk, available resources and ultimate aims.

This can be challenging without access to the right expertise and experience. Engaging external specialists early in the process can help businesses maximise the return on investment and allocate resources efficiently from the outset. Drawing on my own experience, I’ve been an outsider offering a fresh perspective and I’ve seen the impact that challenging approaches early in the process can have on the digital transformation journey.  Navigating organisations away from dead-end paths and towards better alternatives can stop companies from wasting time and money building products or services that won’t make a difference to the customer or to the business’s bottom line.

Change ways of working

Digital transformation inherently demands new ways of working in teams and organisations. It necessitates time and effort to define new processes and embed them in the business – a particular challenge if the new technologies and approaches are unfamiliar to the organisation. 

Bringing in experts who can sit within teams and demonstrate these ways of working first-hand on active projects can accelerate the adoption and embedding process. A proactive, expert-led approach reduces the time and error required in the transition, giving teams a set of best practices that they can build upon from day one. 

Enable and empower your teams

A company’s strength lies in its people. To thrive an organisation needs to invest in its talent. With a digital transformation roadmap set out and new ways of working embraced, businesses need to focus on empowering internal teams to sustain digital innovation and foster future growth. 

Providing upskilling and development opportunities across the team is vital.   A shared language among teams is indispensable for effective project delivery and alignment with business objectives. Investing in the entire team, not just a handful of individuals,  not only aids the success of the current project but also empowers the team to deliver great results in the future. 

The value of experienced experts

Through numerous digital transformations, I’ve seen the value that experienced experts have in delivering bold outcomes across all three steps. It was during a digital transformation at a financial services organisation that I was first introduced to Equal Experts. Their expertise was invaluable in helping us to navigate some of the ambiguity and answer key digital transformation questions that we had, guiding us through the process as genuine partners. Crucially, they understood how to determine the risks and opportunities within our complex digital project and put them into a specific business context. With the right approach and upskilling our team, Equal Experts helped us unlock value from the start of the process and empowered the team to continue the journey. 

Having seen the impact of Equal Experts as a client, I’m excited to have joined their network to help more organisations achieve ambitious business goals through innovation and technology. If your business is preparing for a digital transformation, remember it’s not just the destination you need to think about – it’s the journey that will ultimately deliver business value.  

Contact the Equal Experts Australia and New Zealand team to find out how we can support you unlock value faster and empower your team for success.